Believe it or not, but there is more to do while self-quarantining than sharing memes on Facebook.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a major shift for most of us. Even as someone who has telecommuted for work for the last 2.5 years, practicing social distancing has been a big change for me. Not only am I not going to the gym or local cafes like I usually do, but having a global emergency at the forefront of our minds has had a major impact on the stress levels and general attitudes of everybody who I have spoken to recently.
Wanting to combat this sense of unease, it may be tempting to try to live your life as normally as possible and not break your routine too much. I’d caution against this though. Even if you’re (like me) in the population that isn’t very likely to have a particularly difficult time with COVID-19, keep in mind that social distancing isn’t about you. It’s about protecting the broader population, especially those who are more vulnerable during this time.
Though this pandemic poses a challenge in reshaping how we interact with each other, it also presents us with some opportunities to shake up our day-to-day and approach life from a different perspective.
That’s why we’ve gathered some of our favorite strategies and resources for making the most of this time. Here’s what we’re doing and what we think will make this time of quarantine worth it for you!
While you’re staying indoors and away from others, you have the perfect opportunity to pick up a book and get some reading done. Most of us likely have books on our shelves that we bought with the intention of reading and never got around to, so now is the time to crack them open.
If you’re light on unread books, however, never fear. Using your computer, e-reader, or mobile device, you can access a wealth of books for free to help you pass the time.
As a note, please do not pirate books. Most authors make very little money on their book sales, and a pandemic is not an excuse for book piracy. Instead, consider these completely legal programs that can get new books into your hands.
There’s a good chance you’ve already done some cleaning out of a sense of paranoia. Cleaning your commonly used surfaces and devices is particularly important right now!
That being said, it’s also a great opportunity to Marie Kondo the shit out of your environment. Not only should you be sanitizing the things you touch, but keeping your surroundings organized, tidy, and fresh is incredibly important when you’re going to be in your home more than you usually would be.
Having messy or cluttered surroundings can lend itself to a sense of anxiety or distraction. Especially for those of us who are working from home during this time, a cluttered room can be one of the biggest blockers for getting work done. Not only are you more likely to be distracted by the actual objects that you have lying about, but seeing clutter can trigger you to think about housework– such as the laundry or dishes or vacuuming– that you want to get done.
Spring cleaning has a powerful effect on your mood and your ability to concentrate.
As cited in Psychology Today,
Beyond negative emotional effects, a disorganized space is also associated with less physical activity. On the contrary, organization and order have been associated with choosing to eat more healthily, being more generous, and conventionality.
From my personal experience as a daily telecommuter, when my house is in disarray, my workday is shot. When it’s tidy and clean, I’m focused and productive. Using your social distancing time to do some housework– hey, maybe you’ll even go wild and rearrange some furniture– can be a huge boost.
During difficult periods of time, it can be difficult to have a healthy outlook on things. It may feel like the entirety of your existence is consumed by disease and politics. That’s where it’s necessary to have to foresight to think about what you’ll be doing after the COVID-19 pandemic simmers down.
Personally, I highly recommend doing this through journaling. Writing down your goals, hopes, and ambitions is a fantastic way to force things into perspective. Plus, if you start your day that way, it can frame your outlook on the rest of the day and orient you toward optimism and activities that are going to benefit you in the long run.
Even if you’re not feeling particularly goal-oriented right now (and that’s perfectly fine and normal during times like this!), it can be incredibly helpful to just make a note of the things that you miss doing while you’re practicing social distancing. Do you find yourself missing the gym? Jot that down. Miss specific friends? Send them a message and make yourself a note to get with them when you can.
That sense of longing we get in our guts when we’re unable to follow our normal routines is a strong indicator of where our priorities lie and what is important to us. Listen to that voice and let it be a beacon that you set your sights on when the pandemic feels all-encompassing.
If you take anything away from this article, let it be this: limit the time you spend on social media.
When you’re sitting around at home, it can be tempting to scroll Facebook and Twitter while binge-watching your shows or playing video games. As much as possible, resist the temptation to do this.
It’s true pretty much year-round, but especially during times of crisis, social media becomes an echo chamber of negativity. Add in the fact that this is an election year in the United States and 99% of the posts you’ll see can be summed up as “here are depressing statistics about death rates” or “people of THAT political party are idiots” or a combination of the two. The other 1% are anima videos... I have nothing bad to say about those.
But the negative 99% of content ruins the experience of the 1% of delightful posts.
While mindful, routine use is a positive way to stay connected to others during this time and boost your mood that way, extended time on social media is also strongly correlated with feelings of being left out and a lowered mood and sense of life satisfaction.
As a simple litmus test, just ask yourself whether you often find yourself feeling angry or anxious while you’re on social media. If so, log off and set yourself time limits!
As a gym addict, one of the big pain points for me has been not being able to go to the gym. I usually go and lift about five to six days per week. Lifting is a hobby of mine, but I also rely upon it to help regulate my mental health. Even if you don’t deal with a chronic mood disorder, working up a sweat can still be a crucial way to maintain your mood, health, and bodily comfort.
Moderate exercise helps to deter aches and pain, elevate your mood, strengthen your cardiovascular system, and improves the quality of your sleep.
The below exercises are some that I greatly recommend for times like this. Keep in mind that you may need to adapt it depending upon the ranges of motion accessible to you, and you should never attempt an exercise routine if your healthcare provider has advised against it. Disclaimer aside, doing the following a few times a week will help more than you realize:
Use Skype, Zoom, or Facebook’s video chat functionality to get face-to-face time with friends and family members. If there are people you’ve fallen out of touch with, it can be a great time to connect with them as well.
Video chats and hangouts can be awkward, especially since it’s hard to tell if you’re about to talk over someone else, so consider using that time to play a game like Skribble.io (which is similar to Pictionary) or Jackbox.TV. Games like these can easily be played on your own devices and give you an easy way to incorporate fun and socializing into your quarantine.
If you start to feel like you’re trapped or like you’re stuck in a place of monotony, taking up a new skill can be a huge boost to your daily routine. Who knows? You may even find something you love that you’d like to continue doing post-Coronavirus!
Here are some of my favorite resources for free (or really cheap) online learning and personal development:
Times are tough, but they won’t always be this tough. During the current period of social distancing, use the above strategies to invest in yourself and remember to extend a little extra patience and understanding to others. It won’t be long before things return to a state of normalcy and we can carry on where we left off.
He/ Him/ His pronouns. Blake is a writer, gym addict, dog dad, researcher, and general life enthusiast. He's passionate about helping others reach their goals and live happier, more fulfilling lives.
Get regular blog updates directly to your inbox. Stay inspired and motivated with our content created for entrepreneurs, go-getters, and life-lovers. Plus, no spam EVER.
While our audience is predominately male and we primarily write about issues affecting masc-identifying folks, we also think that our content is right for, well, anybody. Regardless of what you were assigned at birth or labels you use/ don't use– you're welcome here!
We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.
© Copyright Self-Himprovement. All rights reserved.